How to Make Our Relationships Better With Teens
I am the mother of two fabulous teenagers. Yes... they are fabulous! I love the energy they have and the people they are becoming. I even like the struggles that often present themselves. I feel like I learn from them every day.
I am also trying to teach them valuable lessons they can apply the rest of their lives. My son has fallen into friendships and conflict resolutions pretty naturally. That is not to say that he doesn't have things to work on. He is definitely a work in progress.
My daughter is a new teen and has it a bit harder. There are 13-year-old friend adjustments taking place, plus the natural changes in her body that make things quite confusing. The mix of the two can make life a bit emotional. She is a highly motivated, passionate girl, so I am always looking for ways to encourage her.
Books to Help You Parent Your Teenagers
Last year I found two fantastic books that have helped us along the way. The first one's for me. It is called The Five Love Languages. I learned so much about my husband, kids and everyone else in my life with this book. I also learned about myself and what I need in the way of relationships and love. This is a must read for newlyweds and anyone struggling to understand someone important in their life. Gary Chapman breaks down 5 identifiable ways that we give and like to receive love. Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. When I am frustrated with my kids' decisions, I take a deep breath and stand back for a moment and think of their love language. What are they really trying to say with their actions? This has stopped me from making quick judgements and I react in a different way than I normally would. There is also a version for teenagers.
The second book is for teen girls who are struggling with relationships. It is an updated sequel to a best seller by Dale Carnegie written by his daughter Donna. It is called How to Win Friends and Influence People for Teen Girls. It is written in easy to understand language with great examples and things to try. I LOVE this book! It helps girls (or anyone for that matter) focus on others and the signals that often are interpreted incorrectly. It also sheds light on how to get out of your own head, begin to understand others and get what you need out of much needed relationships. Here are some of the chapter headings- The Big Secret of Dealing with People, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Making Friends, Listen Up, and Admit Your Mistakes. This is a must read for any girl about to enter Junior High, and could be something that she refers to over and over again in her quest to maintain strong relationships.
I think the most important thing our teens should feel is value. A long time ago when my kids were little I read somewhere that "whatever you say about your kids will be." If you are always saying, "He is so aggravating! I just don't get him!" that is exactly what you will get. Kids know how we feel about them. It is hard not to think negatively about unwanted behaviors but we can also hope for the best and choose to see the good first. If our children feel loved and accepted, they will take our counsel so much better. They will also make better decisions and want to please us more. We have to stay positive in our approach to parenting and we will gain greater relationships with these wonderful people we are raising. We really can enjoy the teenage years. It just takes a lot of love and hard work! But, oh... is it worth it! Hang in there!
What are some resources that have helped you deal with your teenagers?
Susan lives in Boise, Idaho, and is a self-taught artist and a jack of many artsy trades. She is married to professional artist and has two great teenagers. She has her hand in a lot of pots. She in very involved in her community and church. She loves friends, family, movies, eating out, laughing, and vacationing to warm destinations! She just started her own blog! Visit susansspinningplates.wordpress.com.